Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index May 2016: Living in the Shadow of Empire

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Editor's Introduction

Carmelo Santos

Carmelo Santos,  Editor

Once a year members of the Lutheran Ethicist Network convene around a program relevant to the intersections of church and society. This year they met in Toronto, Canada exploring the meaning today of vulnerability and security. More specifically, the title of the event was: “The Meaning of Vulnerability and Security Today in the Light of Global Realities: Living in the Shadow of Empire.” The present issue of JLE makes available to readers a partial but probing sample from the substance of the Gathering. ​​ Read more​


Dan Lee

Living in the Shadow of Empire: A Theological Reflection in Conversation with Indigenous Experience
   by Bishop Mark MacDonald
Indian Residential Schools are a sinful part of Canada’s history that were facilitated and hidden by Empire.  Bishop MacDonald explores the history of the schools as well as the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.  Reflecting on the context of Scripture, he uses the concepts of idolatry, systemic evil, and Empire to explore the role of Christians during the schools’ existence while calling on Christians today to examine their roles in relation to Empire. ​

Kirsi Stjerna


Vulnerability, Security, Empire, and Confronting Racism: Inspirations from the 2016 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering                  by Iren Raye

Raye helpfully recaps the Lutheran Ethicists' Gathering presentations--including Bishop MacDonald's call to name and resist corporate evil through repentance and the establishing of right relationships. Raye also summarizes Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat's analysis on Paul's letters to the Romans as a useful model of how Empire is named and resisted in Scripture. The article asks its readers, "What is God calling those Christians benefiting from the empire of the United States to do?  How can truth and reconciliation be reached?"​



Book Reviews

From Jeremiad to Jihad

Reading Scripture as a Political Act: Essays on the Theopolitical Interpretation of the Bible  edited by Matthew A. Tapie and Daniel Wade McClain
   Review by Kevin Considine.
This edited volume by Matthew A. Tapie and Daniel Wade McClain is concerned with this confluence of reading Scripture for thought, formation, and action within one’s context or polis.    At the same time, they are concerned that the growing field of Christian political theology marginalizes the role of scripture and biblical interpretation in crafting these theologies. In order to provide a clear, fair, and accurate evaluation of this volume, I must balance an assessment of the quality of the individual contributions of each author with the task that the editors of the volume have set for this project.  With this balance in mind, the contributors have mostly succeeded but the editors have not fully succeeded in the task they have set out to accomplish.

Laura Hartman  

The Hidden God: Luther, Philosophy and Political Theology by Marius Timmann Mjaaland​
   Review by Aaron Klink.​

Marius Timmann Mjaaland, professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Oslo, provides a dazzlingly, provocative exploration of the political implications of Luther’s theological method and scriptural exegesis.  He argues that Luther’s own texts laid the groundwork for radical political interpretations of his thought, even as Luther would claim such applications were outside the scope of his intentions in the wake of the Peasants’ Revolt.  The book shows how certain strands of Continental philosophy can be put into productive conversation with Luther's thinking.  This review cannot do justice to the complexity and density of the book's argumentation, but it can trace some of the major outlines of this important work.
Articles published in the journal reflect the perspectives and thoughts of their authors and not necessarily the theological, ethical, or social stances of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.​

© May 2016
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 16, Issue 5​​